Does Counterinsurgent Success Match Social Support? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Colombia

38 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014 Last revised: 14 Jul 2018

See all articles by Aila M. Matanock

Aila M. Matanock

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Miguel Garcia-Sanchez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Dominant theories of counterinsurgency suggest that state forces must win over citizens to identify insurgents among them. Yet even where state forces are losing, polling shows consistently strong support for counterinsurgents. How can we explain this discrepancy? Dominant theories of counterinsurgency could be incorrect, or, as we posit, individuals systematically may falsify their reported preferences. This study builds on the intuition that individuals may feel pressure to report consistently strong support for the military when asked directly, perhaps especially when they rely on an illegal organization or economy. We argue that this pressure decreases when individuals are asked indirectly, in a way that allows them to conceal their response. To assess, we randomize whether support for the military is measured directly and indirectly in a survey experiment in Colombia. We find lower rates of support with the indirect measure, and the difference is most pronounced in areas of insurgent control.

Keywords: Popular support, Military, Preference falsification, List experiment, Colombia

Suggested Citation

Matanock, Aila M. and Garcia-Sanchez, Miguel, Does Counterinsurgent Success Match Social Support? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Colombia (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2453046

Aila M. Matanock (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Miguel Garcia-Sanchez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, D.C. 110311
Colombia

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